Max vs. Machine

NHTI sculptor's capstone

Technology in a post-human world
Alas, poor "Simulacrum," we knew you.
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"Homunculus" in all its four-legged glory.

When Maxwell Miller enrolled at NHTI as a computer programming major, he had envisioned a life in which every waking moment would be filled with technology. But an epiphany, followed by a change of major, has led him to envision just the opposite.

“I realized I just couldn’t sit in front of a computer for the rest of my life,” Miller said. So, he start dabbling in some visual arts classes, ending up in a sculpture class taught by local artist Tom Devaney. Miller was taken with some of Devaney’s found art sculptures; so taken, in fact, that he based his entire visual arts senior capstone around found art sculptures of his own.

Miller combed junkyards, dumps and even the woods for the items that would make up his sculptures.

“I just like to think I can recycle stuff,” Miller said. “I see a lot of stuff go to waste – cans, bottles, bags – and I like to be able to find a new purpose for them.”

The end result was a three-part sculpture series that explores man’s dependence on technology. The three pieces, titled “Nematocera,” “Homunculus” and “Simulacrum,” represent the evolution of technology, from a tiny spider-like creature to a larger quadruped and finally a human-like figure clutching a skull.

Miller said the sculpture series is meant to be commentary on the world “post-humanity,” or “what’s left after we’re gone,” a fitting theme for a former computer student turned artist.

Miller’s next move is to UMASS-Lowell for photography, but he isn’t abandoning his love of sculpture, either. He’ll keep an eye out for the next skeletal ribcage in an abandoned tractor or oil-funnel boot – whatever his muse might bring to light for him. It’s amazing what you can see when you take your eyes off the computer screen.

Miller can be reached at

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